Short Order

On a test, the confirmation student was asked to list the Ten Commandments in any order.

He wrote: “3, 6, 1, 8, 4, 5, 9, 2, 10, 7.”

Life is like a ten-speed bicycle.  Most of us have gears we never use.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Prideful Bible Reading

A young missionary on his first term in Africa is out away from camp having devotions in a quiet clearing, as was his custom. This one particular day, while reading his Bible, a lion comes and lies down right beside him, so close that the hot warm smell of his breath is wafting over him. He is, as you would suppose, exceedingly uneasy. He closes his eyes, praying … but when he opens them, he sees another lion approach from the brush, which proceeds to lie down on the other side of him.

Convinced as he is that this is a test of his faith, he determines to return to his Bible reading. As soon as he does so, the two lions pounce upon him and devour him.

Moral of the story: Don’t read between the lions.

The Saving Place

A woman was working in her yard with the weed whacker, when she accidentally cut off the tail of her cat.

She ran screaming into the house, and told her husband, wondering what to do.

He replied calmly, “Get the cat, and the tail, and we’ll take them to Wal-Mart.”

She was incredulous. “How could that possibly help?” she asked.

“Well,” he replied, “they’re the world’s largest retailer.”

Blonde Dogs

A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new dogs.

She asked, “What are their names?”

The blonde replied, “That one is Rolex, and that one is Timex.”

Her friend said, “Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?”

“Helllooo?” said the blonde. “They’re watch dogs…”

Not So Obvious

When people say, “Oh, you just want to have your cake and eat it too.” Of course I do! What good is cake if you can’t eat it?

When people say, “It’s always the last place you look.” Of course it is. Why in the world would you keep looking after you’ve found it? Do people do this? Who and where are they?

People who ask, “Can I ask you a question?” Didn’t really give me a choice there, did ya, sunshine?

When something is “new and improved.” Which is it? If it’s new, then there has never been anything before it. If it’s an improvement, then there must have been something before it, so it couldn’t be new.

Shinny Teeth

A guy went to his dentist for a checkup, and the dentist saw that his dental plate was all corroded.

The dentist asked, “What have you been doing? Have you changed your diet or anything?”

The patient said, “I’ve discovered Hollandaise sauce and eat it every chance I get. Maybe that’s what’s causing the problem.”

The dentist answered, “Oh, I see. In that case, I’ll make you a new plate out of chrome.”

The patient was puzzled. “Chrome? Why chrome?” he asked.

The dentist answered, “Because there’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise.”

Twice the Fun

“That was nice of you to set up a blind date for your ex-boyfriend.”

“I know, but I don’t hold any grudges.”

“I’m surprised he trusted you enough to agree to go out with her.”

“Well, I had to swear to him she’s Jennifer Lopez’s double.”

“Wow! Is that true?”

“I wouldn’t lie. She’s twice her weight and twice her age.”

Street Gang

There is a school bus that has its route down Sesame Street.

At the first stop, a really fat Irish boy gets on the bus. His name is Paddy O’Malley.

At the second stop, a somewhat large girl gets on the bus. Her name is Patricia. These two children are quite large, but on Sesame Street the children are kind and do not make fun of them.

At the third stop, a boy named Russell gets on the bus. He has a mental disability, but he also receives respect. The other children simply say that Russ is simple.

At the last stop, a really gross kid named Lester Sleaze gets on the bus. You know he is gross because he hangs out with Oscar the Grouch. He does gross things on the bus too like taking off his shoes and picking at his bunions.

What this all amounts to is: two obese Paddies, special Russ, Lester Sleaze picking bunions on the Sesame Street run.

A Need For Speed

Rick was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary.

His wife was really angry and told him, “Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in less than 10 seconds, and it better be there!”

The next morning Rick got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway.

Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, and brought the box back into the house.

She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.

Rick has been missing since Friday.

Spell Bound

A sixth-grade class is doing some spelling drills. The teacher asks Tommy if he can spell “before.”

He stands up and says, “Before, B-E-P-H-O-R.”

The teacher says, “No, that’s wrong. Can anyone else spell before?”

Another little boy stands up and says, “Before, B-E-F-O-O-R.”

Again the teacher says, “No, that’s wrong.” The teacher asks, “Little Johnny, can you spell ‘before’?”

Little Johnny stands up and says, “Before, B-E-F-O-R-E.”

“Excellent, Johnny. Now can you use it in a sentence?”

Little Johnny says, “That’s easy. Two plus two be fore.”

Black Toast Intolerant

When my son was two or three and learning the ways of American life, he watched me place some bread in both slots of our toaster so that it would be ready to cook just before serving.

Considering the opportunity, he pulled a chair to the counter and politely asked, “Mommy, may I flush the toaster?”

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

Fight! Fight!  Fight! Those words screamed across any playground in America will bring a crowd for sure. When my family moved from Colorado to Naperville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, the boys there seemed much more inclined to both fight and run in gangs, something I had no experience or stomach for. A couple years before my coming growth spurt lead to the banana pants experience moving was something I had gotten used to as  my father was climbing the corporate ladder at Buick Motor division which with his giftedness meant he got promoted about every eighteen months and off we would go to a new city a new adventure.  Often I needed to adjust to a completely different culture. This time because I wore rolled up blue jeans, western shirts, and tennis shoes. The boys in Naperville wore dress pants, oxford shirts and leather pointed shoes. I was a perfect target to get picked on by the bullies. The worst of which in my 6th grade world was Billy Kilmer. This was my first of two trips through the sixth grade, we moved to Michigan the following year and my parents made a wise move to hold me back for a sixth grade re-run. I think it was the “F” in Algebra…just sayin.

Billy had been intimidating me all school year; he lived in our neighborhood and was allegedly the leader of the toughest gang in school. Even worse for me was that he rode my bus and even worse than that he and I had the same bus stop. So nearly every morning he picked on me, put down my clothes, my accent. He had a gift for getting his followers to laugh at people and he especially like to get them laughing at the ‘Colorado, Kid’, (me).

Looking back on it now I can easily see that I was scared to stand up for myself, I was in unknown territory and had no concept of gangs. My older sister rode the same bus so to add to the humiliation she would come home and tell my mother how the boys picked on me and my mother would tell my father. My father had been bullied a lot by his older brothers when he was a child and that pushed on an old wound for him. Yes, he was not too proud of my lack of manhood, the whole thing made him furious. So the fear and humiliation piled on and on.

September, October, November, December apparently four months was all I could take, something had to give and when it broke loose it surprised me perhaps more than anyone.

It was a cold January morning about a foot of snow on the ground and as usual I was carrying a little brown paper bag lunch. Right as the bus pulled up Billy thought it would be funny to grab my lunch bag from me and squish it, right in front of everyone bringing the usual chorus of laughter at my expense. I often wonder what it was that snapped the chains that fear had on me. Was it the constant humiliation, or the surprise of how brash and arrogant Billy was that morning? Perhaps in heaven I’ll get an instant replay to refresh my memories of the thoughts that occurred, I would love to know. One thing is for sure, it was from the heart this song.

Snap! The chains broke and gang or no gang, toughest kid in school or not, BAM! I punched Billy right in the nose. Straight shot with all I had, it almost knocked him down and when he turned back toward me his nose was bleeding some. The school bus doors opened behind me and I hoped up the stairs like nothing had happened. Billy’s men at arms shouting, “Now you’re gonna get it Dilmore”. Billy’s eyes were like flint staring me down the whole ride to school.

“When we get off the bus tonight, Dilmore you are going to die!” Billy informed me as we unloaded for school.

All that day word circled around and around, quite sure everyone in school knew how Dilmore gave Billy Kilmer a bloody nose that morning and how he was going to die when we got off the bus that day.

I will have to say it’s one thing to anticipate a spanking or trouble at school or walking to the principal’s office. It is quite a different story to anticipate taking on the toughest kid in school along with most of his gang. I had bitten into this apple and now I was going to have to eat it.

Sure enough as soon as the bus cleared that afternoon about thirty kids had all gotten off at our stop to watch the action and they encircled us, “Fight!, Fight, Fight!” They all screamed. Surprisingly it was just Billy and I in the ring that had been formed. I had reasoned in my mind that his nose bled easy enough so that was my target.

When the fists started flying I went for the nose the nose the nose and after four or five direct hits blood was flowing and flowing in a big way. I must have been oblivious to his punches, I was so focused that I can’t remember a one of them; I just kept pummeling his nose. I don’t think he could even see. Within minutes he was down. The snow around us crimson red, then with a fury I didn’t know I had in me, I screamed to his men at arms, “does anyone else want some of this?” It was a gruesome sight with the snow and the blood it really was and just then a car drove up. It was Billy’s mom.

Before I knew what happened she had Billy in the front me in the back headed for my house. “Wait till your mother sees what you have done to my son!” I couldn’t win for losing I concluded. Billy’s mom wasn’t going to rest until she had her vengeance. WHAT NOW?

Then came my third surprise of the day, my mom was having none of Mrs. Kilmer’s stuff. With the same fervor I had gone after Billy’s nose my mother went after Billy’s mother. She let her know what it had been like for months as she heard of Billy’s bulling, ‘her’ son. How my sister had witnessed it many times and how my father had been infuriated by it. When she had her fill of that, she took after Mrs. Kilmer for not caring for her son’s bloody nose. Taking Billy herself and cleaning him up with her nursing instincts all the while berating the stunned mother for her lack of immediate care for Billy.

I would love to tell you that Billy and I became friends after that, but we didn’t. I would even hope to tell you that kids stopped picking on me, but we moved to a new city, Flint, Michigan that summer and it all started again. Two years later Neil Armstrong would announce, “One small step for man one giant leap for man kind”, well this Winter afternoon it was one small step for Robby Dilmore but a giant leap of faith that God illustrated to my soul that He had made me to “have what it takes” as John Eldredge teaches as a core question for every man in his book Wild at Heart. This Story/Song is core to who I am to this day, but just the smallest fraction of the songs yet to live and sing.

My Songs characters, Oh yes it is me and God and me and family, but don’t miss that there is an enemy in your song every great story has an enemy because God does and so do you, and with that we have precious allies, my mom in this case.

So is it any surprise that the Song of Songs would have four main characters you see throughout the Book. #1 The Lover, #2 The Beloved, #3 The Friends in Attendance and #4 the Watchman on the Walls.  There is always a bully as Marty McFly would tell you it’s Biff Tannen or King David’s Goliath or Joseph’s brothers, The Pharisees and Sadducees, each like Darth Vader has gone over to the “Dark Side”. What amazes me is somehow God knows they play a critical role in your song, and the worse the villain the more it requires us to turn to something greater than ourselves, God has me right where he wants me. My song would be quite shallow, quite benign had I not had to face horrific enemies, those deep gashes and shattered shards of my broken heart that cry out for healing and comfort such as only the deep cleansing of Jesus blood will turn these painful events to songs of identity, of life, of love, and heaven.